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Bill to allow President to cut private Internet

updated 06:20 pm EDT, Fri August 28, 2009

Controversial web bill

A proposed bill has Internet companies and civil liberty groups in a huff, as it would grant the US President the power to cut off private-sector users from the Internet during cyber security emergencies. The 55-page S. 773 bill (pdf), months in the making behind closed doors, is vague in its wording, but does suggest private Internet networks could be taken over by specially licensed individuals in the government.

Introduced in April in a different form by West Virginia Democrat and chairman of the Senate Commerce committee Senator Jay Rockefeller and Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, the bill was said to be essential to protect national cybersecurity.

"We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs--from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records," Rockefeller said.

There are other problems regarding the Government's role in dealing with the Internet. President Obama himself in May acknowledged that the government is "not as prepared" as it should be to respond to disruptions and would look to hire a security coordinator. The position is yet to be filled while a top cybersecurity aide has quit, prompting critics to wonder aloud why such an administration can be trusted to take over the private sector's access to the Internet.

The proposed bill seeks to make every federal agency draft a cybersecurity workforce plan and an overall comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy in six months.

The most controversial piece of wording in the bill is in Section 201, which allows the White House to periodically map private networks it deems to be critical and require that these companies share requested information with the government. [via CNET]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Super Glitcher

    Joined: Dec 1969




  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    More tyranny

    Everything Comrade does transfers power upwards.

  1. WalterC

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A bit of hysteria

    Read the bill.

    It's about coordination, training, info sharing, and, for finally requiring certification of 'experts' working on gov't networks. Two lines in the bill describe a reaction to compromised gov't net and what the gv't (not the pres.) may do.

    (2) may declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network;

    (6) may order the disconnection of any Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information systems or networks in the interest of national security;

  1. Telekinesis

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Head in the sand

    It was a freedom we had, a hole in their control and like anything else they feel they must plug is using the old-as-time excuse "for security" Once rights are gone, you wont get them back nigh another revolution, people respect yourselves and our rights.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    i hear

    there also will be 'death panels' for people who do not use the Internet in ways which Obama, Pelosi, Reid and Satan do not approve.

    Glenn Beck told me so, it must be true.

  1. chotty

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If this was Bush proposing a bill like this, you'd be saying...????

  1. sgirard

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Little Brother

    Please read "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow. You can download the book for free. It is a fictional (?!) account of how the government can go down the wrong path in the name of national security after a terrorist event. There's lots of good stuff about real security measures already in use and the book is a good read. After you read it, you will change the way you view your government.

    Little Brother:

  1. debohun

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bush - Obama, il n'y a au

    How is Obama and this crew of Democrats any different than Bush and his Republicans? No one would want this power except to abuse it. Historically this is born out... the first thing any government does during a coup or revolution is to cut the lines of civil communication. The power that Obama is seeking is antithetical to the very principles of democracy and a free society.

  1. MacnnChester

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Maybe think first ...

    Of course this kind of headline would make anyone worried and angry, but you might want to think before calling everyone "comrade."My main concern is for FISA courts to be involved. Bush wasn't abusing his authority because he wanted to tap phones, he abused his authority by doing it without court orders or proper legislative supervision. The same may be true here, but we'll have to see.

  1. localnet

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The irony...

    As was said earlier, if this was Bush you guys would be screaming F@scist and N@zi. From what I have seen of the bill, it is worded as such that anyone may interpret it as they see fit. An anything goes kind of bill. How convenient that we get this along with the new FCC plans being floated to shut down many news and talk organizations that are critical of the dear leader.

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